Bryan Richardson
While my ravenous coworkers urged me to include Izzy's and Chang's Mongolian Grill in this quick list of lunch buffets, I refused. Why? Because those places are filled with contagious, diseased children. If I'm going to stuff my face with plates of food, I prefer it to be delicious, and lovingly prepared and served in a charming environment--as is the case at the following wonderful restaurants. KATIE SHIMER

Indian Lunch Buffets

India House, 1038 SW Morrison, 274-1017, daily, $6.95; India Grill, 2829 E Burnside, 236-1790, daily, $7.95; India Oven, 3862 SE Hawthorne, 872-9687, daily, $7.45, Swagat, 2074 NW Lovejoy, 227-4300, $7.95

All of these Indian restaurants rate in basically the same category of deliciousness, which is to say: very delicious. Salads, chutneys, rice, and rotating varieties of vegetarian and meat stews populate the buffet, and of course, the addictive, bubbly-thin Indian bread, nan. In short, just hit the buffet that's in your area, and as a side note, if you find yourself at India Grill for dinner, order the cheesy spinach mixture paleek paneer--it is sooooo damn good. KS

Mediterranean Lunch Buffets

La Villa, 719 SE Morrison, 872-9696 (starting Nov. 16), Pasha, 19 NW 5th, 222-1667, Mon-Fri, $6.95

I'm a big fan of La Villa's lunch buffet because they offer a host of hot dishes, a salad bar, and falafels, tabouli, and hummus. Some dishes are better than others, but I really enjoy the tomato-bathed eggplant moussaka and the soups--I'm less of a fan of the meat dishes. Pasha is pretty similar, although a little more miss than hit. Their spread is enormous and includes everything from cookies to crab cakes, but occasionally forgets some of the staples like baba ganoush. My advice is to stick with the simple stuff--the stuffed grape leaves were right on--and stay away from the meat skewers. KS

Vegetarian House

22 NW 4th Ave, 274-0160, Buffet Mon-Fri, 11 am-2:30 pm, $5.95

This minty-green oasis for non-meat eaters in Chinatown offers over 60 different choices on their enormous menu. From the tofu hush puppies to the veggie kung-pao squid, there's something to please the pickiest diner (even four out of five meat-eaters agree!). If you don't want to worry about choices (or if your wallet isn't bulging), the weekday lunch buffet is for you--staples like sweet and sour soup, egg rolls, fried wontons, and fried rice join a changing selection of entrees, many of which don't even show their faces on the menu. BRAD BUCKNER

Golden Dragon

324 SW 3rd, $4.95 Lunch Buffet, $5.95 Dinner buffet, Open 'til 8 pm

While the Golden Dragon can't compete with the corporate sterility of Sweet Tomatoes, it's a worthy destination nonetheless. With its arched entryway sandwiched between a porn shop and a bookstore, you could easily get caught up shopping on your lunch break--but press on. Because awaiting you are delights like chow mein, egg rolls, General Tso's chicken, beef with broccoli, hot and sour soup, and more. Plus, they serve up a mean soft-serve ice cream in an industrial-sized kitchen bowl, so there's absolutely no chance of leaving hungry. KS

Las Vegas Hilton Buffet

3000 Paradise Rd., Las Vegas, NV

Other than say, Wayne Newton, no one has spent more time on the Las Vegas strip than yours truly. And as any LV visitor can tell you, the buffets there are vomitous. That's why, for safety's sake, the only buffet I will deign to spend my blackjack winnings on is "The Buffet" in the Las Vegas Hilton. World class chefs prepare buckets and buckets of all you can eat broiled steak, smoked salmon, prime rib, sushi, lo mein, broiled lamb chops, fresh seafood, and pastas--plus the most extensive salad bar I've seen. And dig this: there's free champagne with breakfast. For that kind of delicious service, I will happily pay to keep Paris Hilton in a lifetime of pedicures. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY